Mancini lays down law to Arsenal over Nasri deal


MANCHESTER CITY manager Roberto Mancini has warned Arsenal he could pull the plug on a £25m move for Samir Nasri if Arsene Wenger plays him in the Champions League against Udinese this week.

Mancini saw his team go top of the Premier League with a 3-2 win at Bolton yesterday, thanks to goals from David Silva, Gareth Barry and Edin Dzeko, that maintained their 100 per cent start to the season.

But he is impatient to finalise the signing of Nasri, a player whom he has pursued all summer and is thought to be keen to follow Gael Clichy from the Emirates Stadium to the north west.

Wenger surprisingly selected Nasri for Saturday’s 2-0 defeat to Liverpool and has indicated he is ready to do so against Udinese on Wednesday, even though it would leave him ineligible to play in Europe for City.

Mancini said: “For 40 days I’ve hoped in two days, three days [that the Nasri transfer would be complete]. I don’t know why we haven’t closed it. It’s a big problem [if Nasri faces Udinese] but I’m sure we can close in 24 hours, maybe 48. For Nasri it will be important he can play in all the Champions League matches.”

A deal is understood to have been held up by wrangling over whether City or Nasri foot £3m in agents’ fees, and Wenger said yesterday that “it’s far, far, far from being done”.

If he moves he will join a team who look primed to challenge neighbours Manchester United, who play tonight against Tottenham, at the summit of the top flight.

Silva set City on their way in the 26th minute when his low swerving shot from just outside the penalty area bamboozled goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen. If that was preventable, there was little the Finn could do to halt the second goal on 37 minutes, when Barry despatched a ferocious rising drive into the top right corner.

Bolton were given hope just two minutes later, when Ivan Klasnic peeled off Joleon Lescott to convert Martin Petrov’s drilled left-wing cross, but it evaporated just after the break. Dzeko shrugged off Zat Knight and rifled under Jaaskelainen, rendering Kevin Davies’ 63rd-minute header a mere consolation.